Study shows that behaviour problems in childhood could be linked with moving house

According to an article published last week on The Telegraph’s website, children who move house several times before the age of five are more likely to have behaviour and attention problems than other children of the same age.
A study has been carried out in the United States and the results published in the journal ‘Child Development’. The study looked at around 3,000 American households and found than in those families who moved house frequently before the children started school, the children were much more likely to suffer from problems such as hyperactivity, anxiousness and attention difficulties.
The study found that children under the age of five who had had to move house three times or more were five times as likely to suffer from behavioural problems, in comparison to children who lived in the same house or had only moved once or twice.
The study was carried out by Cornell University and found that the behavioural problems were most likely to be found in children from families on low incomes. In previous studies, research has indicated that children who move house three times from birth to adulthood are twice as likely to have used illegal drugs before the age of 18.
The Telegraph’s article quotes Dr Sandra Wheatley, a family and child psychologist, who said: “It isn’t usually the moving house itself that causes a problem. What a child is more likely to pick up on is the reasons why their parents keep moving, and that can be relationship breakdown, or an attempt to escape problems or chase something new.”
Dr Wheatley added that young children tended to be very resilient and on the whole would cope well with moving house, as long as they could see their parents settling in easily. In previous studies carried out on adults, it has been suggested that repeated moving in childhood can lead problems establishing long-term relationships in adulthood.

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